Halloween Countdown Day 26: Pumpkin Power

Pumpkin Power (7)

It turns out that October 26 is Pumpkin Day, as if the gourd needs one specific day in a month that seems to be all about it! But we took the opportunity to test an unappreciated ability of pumpkins: to generate electricity!

Pumpkin Power (1)

Much like those old potato or lemon experiments, you can hook up two pumpkins to make a clock run or an LED light turn on.

I originally tried to follow online instructions, but had to maneuver things a little differently to line up with the particular items that came in a fruit-battery kit we purchased. The set-up looks like this: lnsert a cooper strip and a zinc strip into each of 2 small pumpkins.

Pumpkin Power (2)

Use an alligator clip wire to attach the copper strip from one pumpkin to the zinc strip from the second pumpkin.

Now, use a second wire with alligator clip to attach the zinc strip from the first pumpkin to the negative node of either a multimeter, clock, or LED light.

Use a third wire with alligator clip to attach the copper strip from the second pumpkin to the positive node of the multimeter, clock, or LED light. Hopefully the photos in this post make all that clearer!

Pumpkin Power (3)

Your circuit should be complete.

Pumpkin Power (6)

Travis was wowed watching our clock blink on. At one point we left it running for over an hour.

Pumpkin Power (4)

Why does this work? Pumpkin flesh has acid (though not as much as lemons), which means the zinc strip will start to lose electron ions. Those ions travel over to copper, which generates electricity.

Pumpkin Power (5)

Now that’s pumpkin power!

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